Posts Tagged ‘Occupy LA’

Occupy Los Angeles was scheduled for a so-called eviction, which was to take place anytime after 12:01 a.m. on Monday, November 28. What happened however, was a large-scale “theatrical display” orchestrated by the LAPD in order to create a media frenzy in which they could demonstrate how  well-behaved and restrained their officers are.

On Friday, November 25, Mayor Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief of Police Charlie Beck, announced that the city will be closing “Solidarity Park”, at 12:01 a.m., on Monday November 28 and that the park’s closure would be enforced sometime after that, thus signing Occupy LA’s eviction notice.

In response to the announcement, some 2,000 supporters flooded the camp on Sunday, in the hopes of preventing what was believed to be an imminent eviction. Protesters poured into the streets surrounding City Hall, blocking traffic up until the early morning hours.

The LAPD kept their police presence minimal for most of the night, making their presence known sometime after midnight and increasing in numbers throughout the night.

The 7 hour standoff, which stretched from roughly midnight to 7 a.m., resulted in the LAPD Police Commander, Andrew Smith, stating they were not going to attempt eviction that night and requesting that the occupiers vacate the intersections of 1st and Spring and 1st and Main. In reality, the LAPD had not planned to evict the occupiers to begin with.

Their goal was simple: threaten eviction, present a moderately large police presence (approximately 400 – 500 officers appeared sometime close to 4 a.m.), and watch for the occupiers’ reaction. You could call it a test run, or a study – LAPD was attempting to learn how the protesters would react to eviction (would there be violence? would there be resistance?), what they would do (would they disperse? would they attempt to protect their encampment?), and where their weak spots were.

This I realized in hindsight, after witnessing the actual eviction. The observations the LAPD had gathered on Monday morning, during the standoff, directly influenced the planning of the actual eviction. Brilliant strategy (even if I hate to admit it).

The eviction took place two days later.

Occupy Los Angeles, a faction of the Occupy Wall Street movement, has been camping out on the Lawns of City Hall for the past 7 weeks. What started as a small encampment now covers virtually all open space surrounding the government building.

The movement, which started on Wall Street and has now spread to every major city in the United states and many in Europe, was inspired by an Adbusters blog post, which was posted on July 13, 2011. The ad called for people to take action, starting on September 17, by flooding into Lower Manhattan and setting up tents, kitchens and peaceful barricades with the intent of occupying Wall Street for an unspecified amount of time.

The Adbusters blog reads:

“The time has come to deploy this emerging stratagem against the greatest corrupter of our democracy: Wall Street, the financial Gomorrah of America.

On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices.

Tahrir succeeded in large part because the people of Egypt made a straightforward ultimatum – that Mubarak must go – over and over again until they won. Following this model, what is our equally uncomplicated demand?

The most exciting candidate that we’ve heard so far is one that gets at the core of why the American political establishment is currently unworthy of being called a democracy: we demand that Barack Obama ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington. It’s time for DEMOCRACY NOT CORPORATOCRACY, we’re doomed without it.”

In Los Angeles, the occupation began on October 1 with a few people and tents. In the last 2 weeks, the encampment has grown to several hundred tents and up to 800 occupiers. Several organizations have joined in the movement and events and marches have been planned for almost every weekend since the camp moved in.

On November 11, 2011, Occupy LA held and afternoon music festival. Bands of all kinds participated including RVIVR, a punk band from Olympia Washington. A friend and I were down at the encampment that day and decided to word together on a short multimedia piece about the band.

Here it is: